Why Roosevelt opposed government workers’ unions
I am reading a long but very informative article, “The Trouble with Public Sector Unions,” by Daniel DiSalvo, at National Affairs. It includes this:
Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”Not only was Meany right, but he avoided the split infinitive. Those were the days.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 21, 2011 12:12 PM | Send